How to disable the ribbon from File Explorer in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1

Have you ever thought about making the File Explorer in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1 look and work more like the Windows Explorer from Windows 7? If only you could remove its ribbon and get rid of all those large buttons shown on it… Some users want that and today we have good news for you: there is a very simple solution for it, called Ribbon Disabler. It’s a free tool developed by the guys at Winaero and, in this guide we’ll show you what it does, where to get it and how to use it to disable the ribbon:

What the File Explorer with its ribbon looks like in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1

By default, the File Explorer in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 has a ribbon menu at its top. It’s a place where you can find common commands and options for working with files and folders on your PC or device, and it should make your life easier. Here’s what the ribbon looks like in the File Explorer from Windows 10:

And here a look at the ribbon from File Explorer in Windows 8.1:

Finally, here’s what the old Windows Explorer used to look in Windows 7:

As you can see, there’s no ribbon: just a simple bar with a few buttons, that is nowhere near as complex as the ribbon from File Explorer in Windows 10 or Windows 8.1.

How to get rid of the ribbon in File Explorer from Windows 10 or Windows 8.1

To remove the ribbon menu from File Explorer , you will need to download and run a small file called Ribbon Disabler. It’s a clean freeware tool, developed by the the guys over at Winaero , who are dedicated to tweaking each and every little thing in Windows.

Start by heading to their website here and scroll to the bottom of the page. There, you’ll find the download link for the Ribbon Disabler software. Use it to download and save Ribbon Disabler somewhere on your PC or device. Any location will do, including your Desktop. :)

As you can see in the screenshot above, what you’ll actually get is a very small archive called RibbonDisabler_[winaero.com]_467. Extract its contents and you should get something like this:

If you want, you can start by reading Winaero’s EULA. Besides it and a link to Winaero’s website, you’ll also see two executable files called Ribbon disabler2 and Ribbon disabler2 x64.

If you use a 32-bit version of Windows, you will have to run the Ribbon disabler2 file, and if you use a 64-bit version, you will run the Ribbon disabler2 x64 file. If you don’t know what version of Windows you have, this guide will help you find out: How to determine what version of Windows you have installed.

After you double click on the Ribbon disabler executable file, if you have UAC enabled on your Windows PC or device, you will be asked whether “[...] you want to allow this app from an unknown publisher to make changes to your device”. The file is safe - take our word for it, so click or tap on Yes.

A small dialog window will now open, with two options: “Disable Ribbon Explorer (Make your Explorer similar to Windows 7 Explorer)” and “Enable Ribbon Explorer (Give your Explorer the default look)”. If you still want to disable the ribbon menu from your File Explorer , click or tap on the “Disable Ribbon Explorer” button.

You will be asked to log off. Click or tap Yes to do it.

After you sign in again, open File Explorer and see if you like it better now, without any ribbon menu on it:

How to get back the ribbon menu in File Explorer, in Windows 10 and Windows 8.1

If, after a while, you have changed your mind and you want the ribbon back on your File Explorer , run the Ribbon disabler executable once more. This time however, click or tap on the “Enable Ribbon Explorer” button.

Log off and then see the default File Explorer brought back, just as Microsoft intended it to be, with the ribbon included.

Conclusion

Although the ribbon menu in the File Explorer from Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 was designed and developed by Microsoft’s engineers to offer users a better experience and a boost in productivity, not everybody likes it. Fortunately, if you want to remove it, now you can, even if you have to use third party software to do it. The good thing about the tool covered in this article is that it’s free and easy to use.